Observing 'quantized' conductance steps in silver sulfide: Two parallel resistive switching mechanisms

J.J.T. Wagenaar, M. Morales-Masis, J.M. Van Ruitenbeek*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

67 Citations (Scopus)
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We demonstrate that it is possible to distinguish two conductance switching mechanisms in silver sulfide devices at room temperature. Experiments were performed using a Ag2S thin film deposited on a wide Ag bottom electrode, which was contacted by the Pt tip of a scanning tunneling microscope. By applying a positive voltage on the silver electrode, the conductance is seen to switch to a state having three orders of magnitude higher conductance, which is related to the formation of a conductive path inside the Ag2S thin film. We argue this to be composed of a metallic silver nanowire accompanied by a modification of the surrounding lattice structure. Metallic silver nanowires decaying after applying a negative voltage allow observing conductance steps in the breaking traces characteristic for atomic-scale contacts, while the lattice structure deformation is revealed by gradual and continuously decreasing conductance traces.
Original languageEnglish
Article number014302
JournalJournal of Applied Physics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes


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